Noisy cubicle neighbor driving you crazy? Here are options for handling the situation.

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Q: I work at an office where almost everyone is in a cubicle. My new neighbor thinks it’s OK to hold conference calls in his cubicle. He’ll squish five to six people into his cubicle and put his telephone on speaker so everyone can hear the others on the call. The noise level is so loud that I can’t concentrate. He works for a different department manager than me, so how can I get him to stop holding conference calls in his cubicle?

A: I feel your pain! It can be difficult to be productive when having to block out loud background noise. One simple idea is to try wearing headphones and listening to relaxing music while you work, to see whether it will block out the disruptions.

If that doesn’t appeal to you, print out a map showing all the conference rooms and the process for scheduling them. Then approach the offender directly, because oftentimes, this person doesn’t even realize he or she is being disruptive. You could say something like: “I’m not sure if you realize this, but holding conference call meetings in your cubicle is making it difficult for me to be productive because of the noise. Since you just moved into this building, I thought it might be helpful to have this map showing the locations of the conference rooms, along with the process for scheduling them. I’d really appreciate it if you could hold your meetings in conference rooms, in the future. Thanks!” Then hand him the map and the process to book them.

When you speak with him, do so in a calm and relaxed manner, with a smile on your face. Try to take a helpful attitude; he might not realize there are conference rooms available nearby. In situations like this, it’s always better to be helpful versus angry or accusatory.

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If speaking directly to the offender doesn’t solve the problem, have a discussion with your manager about the situation and what you did to try to resolve it. Since the person works for another manager, it’s usually best for your boss to discuss the situation with the other department manager.

If these steps still don’t resolve the problem, the final course of action is to ask your boss if you can be moved to a different cubicle in a quieter location.

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at